NEWS: ITC eases the rules on masthead broadcasts

The Independent Television Commission has bowed to industry pressure and partially relaxed the rules on masthead programming.

The Independent Television Commission has bowed to industry pressure and

partially relaxed the rules on masthead programming.



The proposals mean that for the first time magazine publishers will be

able to develop TV versions of their titles.



However, the move received a lukewarm response from the Periodical

Publishers Association. The PPA has campaigned for two years for the

introduction of masthead programming, which up until now has been

regarded by the ITC as a form of sponsorship.



The ITC is to lift its restrictions on all but the ‘core terrestrial

channels’ - ITV, Channel 4 and the forthcoming Channel 5. Publishers

will be able to use their magazines’ names, content, and contributors

for cable, satellite and new digital services.



However, the PPA has vowed to keep up its pressure until the rules are

fully relaxed and it intends to lobby political parties at their autumn

conferences.



Ian Locks, managing director of the PPA, said: ‘This is hip, hip, rather

than hip, hip, hooray. Obviously, we’re very pleased that the ITC has

acknowledged the existence of masthead programming as a separate genre.

But the exclusion of core terrestrial channels is a big disappointment.’



Locks said the new rules were unlikely to encourage mainstream titles to

move into masthead programming because of satellite and cable TV’s

limited audiences.



But Terry Mansfield, managing director of the National Magazine Company,

said: ‘Some of our publications offer great potential for masthead

programmes. Our flagship titles - Good Housekeeping and Cosmopolitan -

would seem the most appropriate place to start.’



NatMags was linked with Granada Sky Broadcasting this summer when it

emerged that the two companies had held discussions about Good

Housekeeping lending its name to the home interest channel, Granada Good

Life, which launches next week (Campaign, 28 June).



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